Here is something to use for you next parent meeting...

Potter laugh...


Need a laugh this morning, watch this spoof of Harry Potter. There is just something fun about puppets.

A Train Wreck Waiting to Happen.


So I'm reading Andy Stanley's
book Next Generation Leader

And been wondering a couple things lately. I know Doug Fields
used this same analogy. But are we a "Train Wreck" waiting to happen?

By that, I mean how do you have accountability in your life?
How is your walk?
What struggles are you having?
Have you learned to Say "No"?
What is one thing you are good at?

I'll start with the above.

1. One of which I'm searching for better ways for accountability because the boundaries I currently have - I can get around.
2. It is a process of which I'm not happy.
3. Maintaining balance.
4. I'd like to think so but saying No is hard.
5. I'd say I'm more of a laidback person and sometimes that is hard to be when confrontation is called for.


Word Work: Friday, November 18, 2005


Word Work: Friday, November 18, 2005
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us..." (Gal. 3:13)
A word from the Word: Read Luke 11:1-13
"For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened" (Luke 11:10)
Food for Thought: Daddy, are you busy?
Children have a way with words, don't they? Their simple, but affectionate questions can soften even the stoniest of hearts. If you have children of your own, think about some of the questions they asked you when they were little. Or if you don't have kids of your own, think about the little kids you are around, or have ever been around. As Billy Cosby used to say, "kids do say the darndest things."
My oldest daughter, Rachel asked me a question today that melted my heart. My wife, was taking the girls to Walmart, and daddy was busy doing what youth minister's do. We happened to cross paths, and well, Rachel wanted her daddy to come with her into the store, but I couldn't today. When I told her no, I couldn't go in with her. She asked me, "daddy, are you busy?" So, I am sitting here wondering, if she is growing up learning that her daddy doesn't have time for her, because he is busy? If you are a parent, then maybe you've experienced something similar. Are we too busy for our kids?
One thing is for certain, our Heavenly Father is never to busy for his kids. You will never here God say, "sorry can't help you right now, I am busy." Our Father is always available and ready to listen to the cries of our hearts. Parents, may we learn from our Heavenly Father what it means to be available for our kids, and not just when they are little. For midadolescents, those teens aged 15-19, one of the biggest challenges that it is recorded that they face is the feeling that the adults in their worlds have abandoned them. Our culture is to blame. We live in an instant society, we are always on the go, and never seem to have enough time for meaningful relationships. In the hustle and bustle, parents don't forget to make time for your children.
So, here shortly I will be leaving the office, and I will be hugging my little ones and reassuring her that I am not to busy for her.

Gratefully His,

Jason Retherford

New Team Member


We have another new team member, I would like to welcome Matthew James Wilson to the YMF. Matt is the youth minister and worship coordinator at the Newark church of Christ. You can check out his blog here.

Matt, welcome to the YMF. We look forward to reading your thoughts.

The Chumscrubber & Giving


This morning before I headed out to work I caught a segment on the Today Show about an upcoming movie called The Chumscrubber.

The move is from first time director Arie Posin and it looks at the indifference adults have towards parenting their teens. It falls right in line with Chap Clark's book "Hurt" and looks to be a pretty powerful commentary on current family dynamics. It hasn't gotten the best reviews, but it still looks interesting

You can see the trailer here.

On another topic. Our small group has been having this discussion regarding money and poverty. We came to a point in our discussions where we each revealed what percentage of our income was spent where and on what. We looked at things like housing, bills, entertainment, giving, eating out, parking tickets, savings, and other kinds of life expenses.

As we went around the room sharing our stats it I became increasingly uncomfortable because my financial giving percentage was much lower than others in the room. When this fact was finally revealed it sparked an interesting discussion centered on what God's expectations of His "Levites" are for financial giving. I then realized that I have never heard a sermon directed towards pastors with regard to the topic of giving.

In light of some of the struggles we have talked about that are inherint with being a youth minister, or a minister period, how does that effect your outlook on financial giving? Do you give to the church, and if so do you feel conflicted about that? If you don't give to the church where do you give? Should we give at all, or can we consider the use of our skills in the religious context instead of the secular context as being sacrificial and therefore adaquate?

For us, we tend to give to specific kids depending on their situations. We have given money to a couple of teens who were trying to make it in college. We over pay (by a lot) our babysitter who really needs the money (she is a teen), and we have purchased numerous clothes and jackets for teens who have been in need. But we don't write a check to the church...and we feel conflicted about that.

toils, trials, and Him


I am trying to make sense of it all. I don't know about you, but sometimes I just sit in awe at the unbelievable task that we are called into. I know, we are told to go into all the world..., but stop for a minute and think about the task we are called into as youth ministers. To share the gospel with kids, and minister to families. Other areas of ministry are important, but we have a special challenge, a special call. We are many times, underpaid, overlooked, misunderstood, and overworked. But would you want it any other way?
Paul shares a little of his struggles in minstry. Read 2 Cor. 11:16-12:10:
"16I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. 21To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

   What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.


 1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.

 7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."


After he relates his hurts, struggles, and frustration, I believe Paul would go on to say that if called to do it all over again, he would. I think as youth ministers we too, would answer like Paul that we would face the same junk we have already just so that one teen might accept Jesus and be changed by the gospel.


Youth worker, be encouraged by your trials. Christ is the strongest when we are the weakest.

Techie help


Jason Isabell, thanks for the banner image. It fits better with what I had in mind. Also, I think Brian asked me if I could link the contributors. I am in over my head. If you any of you have a suggestion for as to how do this. Man, let us know!

new look again


What do ya'll think?

YS in Nashville


Is anyone going to the YS National Youth Workers Convention in Nashville? If so, maybe we could meet up. Comment or email me at

Youth Ministry in a Box?


So any resources you use that you find helpful?

I've found this site

Though sometimes in looking for new resources, if I even have to. Afterall its not the lessons and programs that make the point. It is all about relationships.

My Thoughts on Soul Searching...


I read Soul Searching recently as well as Hurt. Both are good reads. If you haven't read them, go ahead and spend the money. It is money well worth it.

Here are my two cents on the book:

Soul Searching

I don't claim to be the authority on eccelsiology, ministry, theology, youth ministry, or even parenting. However, in recent days a book that has really caught my attention has been Soul Searching, which reports the findings of the NYSR several year intensive study of youth religion. I'd like to share some of their findings to match them with you out there in ministry are seeing.

I want to start with the importance of parents. Scripture has long taught that the spiritual/religious education of our children should first and foremost come from the home. Moms and dads are the single most important influence in the lives of our kids. Sure there are times they don't admit it, appreciate you, or even want to be near you, but the NSYR's findings indicate that our kids become what we as parents are.

Secondly, religion is important in the lives of American teens. The vast majority of teens aren't hostile to religion. Most devoted religious teens are being persecuted or even tormented for their faith. Almost an overwhelming majority of kids though are unable to articulate their faith. They aren't sure what they believe, and why. For teenagers, this study indicates that religion is just furniture in their lives. A neat little category that sits along with other categories.

Third, there is emerging in our society a moral theraputic deism. The majority of Americans in most surveys seem to report that they believe in God, but this statistic does little to explain what God they believe in. So, the bad news for the churches is that we aren't doing a good job teaching the deep truths of Scripture, doctrine, belief, and practice to our congregants very effectively. But on top of the bad news, there is this startling finding: Most teens aren't leaving their religious heritages when they get older and start families of their own. Most religious teens adopt their parent's religious congregations. Which one again demonstrates the importance of parents in the spiritual upbringing of their children.

Fourth, many places in our culture paint teens as alien creatures and see the problems they face as teen problems. This isn't fair to teens. Teenagers are real people too, and need to be treated and ministered too like they matter. Also, these supposed teen problems, drinkking, somking, STD's, pornography, etc., are really adult problems that teens have learned from significant adults in their lives. So, again, more startling proof of how powerful adult influence is in the lives of teens.

These four assessments are not the totality of the book, Soul Searching, but just some of the general findings that have impacted me the most since I have read it. As a youth worker I want to more than ever partner with parents to raise healthy committed families. As a parent I have renewed vigor in being an authentic disciple of Jesus, one that my own two girls will see as real expression of faith. I want them to grow up knowing that their daddy loves Jesus with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.



I have recently read Chap Clark's Book, Hurt, Inside the World of Today's Teenagers, and have heard him speak twice in the last month and a half.

He discusses the lengthing of adolescense and how we need to do a better job of caring for them.

In 1970 the average age of the beginning of adolescense was 13 and ended at about 18. Today in 2005, studies have shown that the average of age of the beginning of adolescense is 11.7 and ends somewhere in the mid 20's! Chap then ascertains that todays systems of youth ministry were created in 1970 and worked well with a 5 year adolescent period. Adolescents is now a 15 year period and we must re-think how we minister to students.

He discusses the "convergence of the body" when it comes to effectively ministering to adolescents, meaning each students needs at least 5 caring adults in their life. He also states that we need to give students a place (meaning relationships not a building) and a mission.

I agree with all that Chap Clark has stated and it is really messing with my thinking right now. I really believe that we need to re-think the current paradigm of youth ministry.

If you have not yet read Hurt, let me strongly encourage you to do so.

Have you recognized the need to re-think how we do youth ministry so that we can more effectively minister to today's adolescence? Please share.

Simply H2O?


So this past Sunday I preached on

"These are the Deserts of our Lives"

The Desert of Invitation (A look @ Moses)
The Desert of Dedication (A look @ Elijah)
The Desert of Temptation (Look @ Jesus)

And that we after our own "desert" experiences need to embrace and drink of the Living water. So we handed out bottled water with the message "Are you thirsty for the Living Water?"

And I'm wondering, as youthworkers, how are you quenching your thirst, feeding your soul?

Gimmicks R Not


Church Agrees to Ban Swallowing Goldfish

What's with the gimmicks?

I mean there is even a website Church Marketing Sucks

I even saw a church that sent a BILL for $$$ to people, and a church that has WIN FREE Super Bowl
tickets that this church had earlier this Fall. (Click the link for the church). Isn't this kind of ....Well I'll reserve my thoughts. What are yours?

Good Cop Bad Cop


An article on maintaining balance in your discipline in your ministry. I found it to be helpful.



Article on teacher discipling a student

So I'm arguing that the tactic of this teacher wasn't justified to fit the behaviour. Some youthworkers disagree. Thinking it is fine. Mother overreacted etc.

So this got me thinking. How do you handle discipline in your ministry setting?

We, as youthworkers, can learn how to discipline in a firm but loving matter. Cardboard and for 2hrs is a long time. Especially for a child.

Les Christie's Book How to Work with Rude, Obnoxious, and Apathetic Kids comes to mind - Positive discipline with youth.

The teacher could of had the kids come up with the rules, had the rules and communication with the parents etc. I'm sure when a letter goes home (If this is the child's first offense or not) saying little Johnny or Susie were talking and disruptive during class .....there would be reinforcement at home or Johnny had to talk with the principle about talking in class ....instead of being embarrassed, and having the school, school board, this upset parent, and media getting involved.

One of the things is talking justified? Maybe, maybe not?

Is 2hrs in a cardboard cubically and possible ridicule worth the punishment? I don't think so. There are other ways to isolate a child without having others bringing attention to them.

What sometimes we forget that discipline is suppose to positive not negative ...we are to be discipling.

Catch your students doing good, avoid the distractions, address the issue and child one on one. Have positive feedback.

One of the big things is we want immediate results. Some discipline issues take time, patience, and not a QUICK FIX answer.

The teacher needs to know how to handle her students. If she cannot control a student who is talking all the time and had to go to such measures; I'd think one needs to know what discipline is and is not.

The mother is just upset. Not dumb. The school is doing the best they can with the situation. Which will probably be to reprimand the teacher, and maybe transfer this student to a different classroom setting. There has been some damage done and hopefully it is repairable. The real issue is How does One Resolve Conflict?

What I am afraid is too many of us are quick to react, slow to listen, and be patient. I think this teacher reacted too quickly and the consequences don't fit the action.

I listed 2 resources from Les Christie,
Les Christie's book How to work with Rude, obnoxious, and Apathetic Kids (Good for student ministry)

With such things as reasons for problem behaviour, giving kids confidence, rules and guidelines, consequences, praise - catch them doing right, handling anger, getting rid of distractions, specific discipline methods, such as if kid is talking eye contact, move to a different spot, maybe this child has ADD or ADHD etc,

The Discipline Guide for Children's Ministry by Jody Capehart, Gordan West & Becki West.

Kids in God's Kingdom, Kids will be kids, discipline to the design of the child, common sense Do's and Dont's, The Extra Challenge - Kids with ADD, parents, teachers and partnering together.

I'm also thinking of the book Why Nobody Learns Much of Anything at Church and How to Fix it. by Thom and Joani Schultz. -maybe this child is not an audible learning maybe he can learn by innovation and active learning depending on his own learning or her own learning style. I think the educational field and church education needs to look closely at this idea of addressing the Kinetic, audible, and other types of learners.

The resource Assertive Discipline for Parents by Lee Canter and Marlene Canter is good as well.

In it it includes Take charge and be the Boss. Don't use ineffective responses, communicate assertively.

If minor (Such as talking)separate the child from the room or area and have them set away from the group by the number of minutes their age is if 3 -3 minutes etc.

I do like the discipline plan that is outlines

What specific behaviour child must change?

What are the consequences:

If this does not work, what next....

1st time misbehaves

How will you monitor the problem?

What will you keep track of?

Positive reinforcements for good behavior ....

Rules child to work on .....

Discipline problems at school ....

How will monitor?
What are the consequences?
What are positive consequences if child behaves at school?

So what are your thoughts? How do you do discipline and resolve conflict?

Why Young Pastors are leaving the Ministry?


Saw the following article and thought to post here for discussion as well:

There is an epidemic occurring right under the nose of church middle judicatories and no one seems to notice. Young pastors (less than five years in the ministry) are leaving in droves. The Lilly Foundation has poured millions of dollars into “Sustaining Pastoral Ministry” initiatives and it’s too soon to tell whether or not their approach is working. Aside from the obvious reasons pastors leave the ministry (sexual impropriety, financial mismanagement, and marital dissolution) here are the top ten reasons why young pastors call it quits:

1. The discontinuity between what they imagined ministry to be and what it actually is is too great.

2. A life without weekends sucks.

3. The pay is too low (most pastors in my denomination make less money than a school teacher with five years experience).

4. They are tired of driving ten year old cars while their congregations trade in their cars every two years.

5. Many young pastors are called into difficult congregations that chew pastors up and spit them out because experienced pastors know better.

6. Even though the search committee told them they wanted to reach young people, they didn’t really mean it.

7. When the pastor asked the search committee if they were an “emergent church”, the members of the search committee thought he said “divergent church” and agreed.

8. Nobody told the young pastor that cleaning the toilets was part of the job description.

9. The young pastor’s student loans came due and the amount of money he/she owes on a monthly basis exceeds his/her income.

10. Working at McDonalds has alot less stress.

Why do you think young pastors are leaving in the ministry in droves?

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